Babson sets up Asian mezzanine team

Babson Capital Management has formed an eight-strong team in Sydney and Asia to source mezzanine debt and private equity opportunities in the region.

US-headquartered investment firm Babson Capital Management has formed an investment team of eight members to source mezzanine debt and private equity investment opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.

Four members of the firm’s team will be based in Sydney, with another four located in the US and in Asia. The team will focus on investments in mezzanine debt and equity securities of mid-market companies located primarily in Australia and New Zealand and also in a few Asian markets such as Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, the firm said in a statement. 
Michael Hermsen, a managing director of Babson Capital and co-head of the firm’s mezzanine and private equity group,will oversee the firm’s Asia Pacific team.
“The Asia Pacific region offers attractive opportunities for profitable mezzanine investing due to the region’s strong economic outlook, increasing demand for mezzanine as a source of buyout financing, and a pullback by traditional investors in the marketplace as a result of the global financial crisis,” Hermsen said in a statement. 
Shane Forster and Adam Wheeler have joined Babson Capital as managing directors based out of its Sydney office. They will share portfolio management and investment sourcing responsibilities. Both have joined the firm from AMP Capital Investors, where they managed more than A$700 million (€474.2 million; $641.5 million) in Asian and Australian mezzanine and private debt investments. 
Also in Sydney are director Elliott Wong and associate director Adrian Ng, both of who joined Babson when the firm assumed management of an A$200 million mezzanine debt portfolio they managed for a Babcock & Brown affiliate. 
The other three members on the team are Benjamin Silver, a managing director based in Los Angeles; Adam Nowak, an Asia-based consultant; and Howe Wu, an Asia-based consultant. 
Established in 1992, the firm’s mezzanine and private equity group directly or indirectly manages assets of about $5 billion. It has an investment team of 21. The mezzanine and private equity group makes investments across a variety of sectors but has a broad focus on manufacturing, business services, distribution, consumer products and services, food products and services, packaging and healthcare. 

Babson struck its first deal in Asia in 2009 when it invested $15 million in the form of senior subordinated notes with warrants in Chinese steel casting business Yingliu International.